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President Milton A. Gordon speaks at HACU on the Road. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

HACU On The Road

Discussing the State of Hispanic Higher Education

December 8, 2009

Antonio Flores, president and CEO of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), has been delivering keynote addresses throughout the United States and abroad as part of "HACU on the Road," an initiative designed to promote national and international dialogue about the state of Hispanic higher education. He spoke at Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 13. His powerpoint presentation is available for download. The discussion [71 MB MP3] is available for download, and the following is the transcription of the recording.

Milton A. Gordon, President, Cal State Fullerton and Chairman of the Board of HACU: I've been so impressed with Antonio Flores who, as HACU President and Chief Executive Officer, has a really broad vision for the entire organization. We have now 460 universities designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions, and under Antonio's leadership, we now have 2,100 Hispanic serving school districts out of approximately 13,000 school districts in the United States. And the majority of our school population is concentrated in those same 2,100 Hispanic serving school districts. Think about that for a moment.

I think the proudest position I've ever held in my educational career personally, is chairing the governing board for HACU, so let me introduce to you the man behind the HACU On the Road concept, HACU President and CEO Antonio Flores,

Antonio Flores delivers the keynote address. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

Antonio Flores: Thank you, Milton. It's always a pleasure for me to come to Southern California, one of the states with the largest number of member institutions. Where we know that it's probably ground zero for the issues that we are involved with. Yes, we're going to share with you some of our priorities, some of our issues that we deal with, but before I do that, let me just acknowledge something that's absolutely true. Your president, Milton A. Gordon, is also one of our most diligent and most committed presidents in HACU. He has been an exemplary member and now chair of our national board, and we are delighted to have him involved supporting what HACU is all about. We are very grateful for his willingness to host its meeting.

Of course it's always great to see old friends and new friends. Mike from Cal Poly, Pomona. Michael Ortiz, Dr. Ortiz is one of our old friends. I remember we met first when I went to speak at Fresno and you were vice president of Academic Affairs. You actually picked me up to take me to the campus. I enjoyed every minute of our stay there. It was great to meet you and now you of course emerge as one of our leading Latino presidents across the board in our association and we're glad to have you as well.

It's always good to see the diversity in a group like this. We have representatives from not only colleges and universities but also from the K-12 districts in the area. I think this precisely is what this whole enterprise is all about. What we are going to discuss with you. I'm very happy to share with you, first of all our agenda for today; where we're going to cover a number of priorities and issues that HACU is engaged with nationally and across the state of California. We will also have an opportunity to have a dialogue with all of you.

It allows us to listen to what you might want to recommend to us that we do either more of or differently from what we're doing. It's critical that we hear from you in this session as well. Ultimately we want to know how you might want to engage yourself beyond what you might be already engaged in, our issues for HACU for the foreseeable future.

This is where we are now. We are now in Fullerton, after covering all those that precede Fullerton in the list. We have done that many. I guess you have 11 cities that we start at and we have about 14, 15 more to go. As you can see, we're not only covering most of the country but we're also covering some of our key countries outside the United States. You'll see why later on in our presentation.

We're really pleased that we have received a tremendous amount of not only support but encouragement and commitment from those who have come to our meetings over the last several months. I think they all understand that Hispanic higher education success -- I know in California it's better to say Latino higher education success -- is critical not only for the Latino community but for the nation as a whole.

It is projected already that by the year 2025 or even before that, one of every two new workers joining the American labor force will be Latino. That is a tremendous confirmation of America's labor force over the long term. After that point of course the majority joining our nation's workforce will be Latino.

This is why it is imperative for the nation to recognize and invest in the success of Latinos. As you can see here, we're not really doing very well. In fact we looked at data over the last 35 years, going to back for a degree for example for people who are 25 to 29 years old, right after college and found that in 1971, those were the percentages that we had for white, black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. And then, 35 years later, we see the difference. And what we see is two things, basically, in those numbers.

One is we see that all the groups moved up in numbers and percentages, but some of the groups that were already lagging behind, actually are farther behind today than they were back then, vis-a-vis those who were ahead. Because the gap between Latinos in 1971 and whites, for example, was only 14 percentage points. Today, the gap is 25 percentage points. So, yes, we all moved forward. We all improved.

But some groups did not keep pace. In fact, they slowed down the pace. And that is what happened to Latinos over the last 35 years.

If we don't reverse this trend, ultimately, not only Latinos, but also the nation as a whole will be in big trouble. And that is why we want to educate not just our supporters, but go beyond what we are doing with HACU in the road in the years ahead to ensure that policy makers and people who need to be informed about the implications of these trends need to know, because in California, ultimately, what you see nationally may be even a more pointed issue, because you have greater concentrations of Latinos in the state of California. Almost 40% of the population in the state now is Latino.

And of course, I am sure that we can extrapolate the numbers that we saw nationally in terms of bachelor degree obtainment to California, and ultimately, we would not be doing very well. You know, it is important to cite a few facts about demographic realities in our country. Every seven seconds, a new baby is born in our nation; every seven seconds. This is Census Bureau data. So that means that for the last few moments I have been talking, probably we could fill up this room with new babies. But the fact is that almost half of them are Latino babies.

Now, every 36 seconds, a new immigrant arrives in our country in search of a better life; every 36 seconds. The majority of those, in fact, the vast majority of new immigrants, are Latinos. That explains why, since the last Census count in 2000 to today, almost 52% of all of the population growth in our country is attributed to Latinos. The majority of the growth in the last nine years is due to Latinos.

And so, the future of the country ultimately is upon us, really, and we need to own up to the issue of how to really compact the education of success of our communities across the country so that our nation maintains its leadership role in the community of nations around the world.

In this way, we are also sharing the fact that HACU is almost everywhere in the country with the exception of a few states that are under populated. But Hispanic Serving Institutions (or HSIs), for the most part, are in all of those blue states. The darker blue states are where we have Hispanic Serving Institutions such as, of course, Cal State Fullerton. And more of them are emerging in those states and in other states that are not yet there but have associate members in our association, those that don't have the 25% Latino enrollment but are moving in that direction.

But we are now in 32 states and Puerto Rico. And we enroll, in those institutions, more than two thirds, actually, we saw the latest numbers, of the nations 2.3 million Latinos in college today. So that is a big responsibility for our association to be able to make the case for Congress and for state legislatures to invest a lot more in those institutions that enroll the majority of our communities. To this day, in fact, they enroll about 4.8 million students in total, not just the HSIs, but all of the members of HACU combined.

And here we have the breakdown of membership in California. We have 109 member institutions in California. And of course, we are proud to also point out that we have four Hispanic serving school districts.

This is really something that HACU has coined with the intent of changing legislation in Congress. With the renewal of the elementary secondary education act, also know as No Child Left Behind, we intend to work in new language that will provide resources for our Hispanic serving institutions and Hispanic serving school districts to work more closely together, collaborate, or effectively to get more Latinos to succeed both in K-12 and, of course, in college, and get them better ready to do so as they come through K-12.

As you can see, California accounts for almost 20%-25% of our membership nationwide, which reflects the Latino population nationwide, as well. And so, we are very much committed to making that happen, the amendments to the No Child Left Behind that will, for the first time in the history of the nation, recognize Hispanic serving school districts as an asset for the well future of the country.

It is not going to be easy, but I believe it will be done by the time they are finished with amendments to the Elementary Secondary Education Act. Ultimately, we will need your help to do that, because it is going to require broad based support and input to Congress as we move forward with the legislation.

We have, actually, two groups now working on this issue. One is a work group of decisive interventions that we want to put in place hopefully beginning next year in the fall in 10 or 15 different sites throughout the country to pilot those two interventions. One is a college planning and readiness intervention that will include parents. The second one is college entrance examination readiness.

We have ETS, ACT, the College Board. We have NEA. We have Lumina Foundation and Sallie Mae, among other supporters who are involved in this workgroup putting together those interventions. But we also have a policy group that includes five superintendents and five presidents giving us input on what kind of recommendations we need to make to Congress to amend the Elementary Secondary Education Act.

Ultimately, we intend to draft those with their input, pass them out to all our members and supporters for feedback, and then finalize a draft that we hope to introduce in April of next year when we have our Capitol forum in Washington.

But this is a critical initiative on our part of the reasons that President Gordon already alluded to, that there are roughly 2,100 school districts that would be classifiable as Hispanic serving school districts under those amendments.

And the interesting thing about those 2,100 school districts out of about 13,000 nationwide that are HIS, Hispanic serving school districts, is that they enroll the overwhelming majority of all Latinos, but also the majority of all students in the US.

So to the extent that we are able to impact on those 2,100 school districts, we will be actually making a difference nationwide for all populations, because Latinos tend to concentrate in the major cities in larger school districts. And when you add all those up, they are the majority of the students in the nation.

And so HACU really was founded in 1986 with 18 member colleges and universities. And of course, the mission was defined very clearly back then, and it has been sustained throughout the years. And that mission called for us to advocate very strongly in support of HSIs in Latino higher education.

And that is why, for the first time in the history of the country, in 1992 is when Congress passed amendments to the Higher Education Act that put on the map for the first time Hispanic Serving Institutions. We really didn't exist before. I mean we did not exist as a constituency that needed to be attended by the federal government until then.

And it was not until three years later that they first appropriation came through. But in that first 1992 amendment, we were just a small section on the Title III developing institutions of the Higher Education Act.

And by '97, '98, there was another round of amendments, and we pushed very hard and succeeded and getting a whole Title dedicated to HSIs, Title I. And of course the authorized funding went out, so much so that over the years, actually, that number is outdated. It is not $1.2 billion. It is $1.5 billion that have already been accrued by our institutions nationwide as a result of HACU's service since then.

In the scheme of things, you could say, "Well, that is a lot of money," because if you break it down into $1 bills, maybe you can fill up this room. But actually, it is not a lot of money. It is a drop in the bucket when it comes to federal budgets.

And it is so much so that today, HSIs only receive 52 cents on the dollar per student annually for federal resources compared to the rest. And you might say, "Gee. It is huge gap," and it is. But it was worse 10 years ago.

We were at 46 cents on the dollar 10 years ago when we first did the data analysis. And so, over the last 10 years, we have been able to increase, I guess you could say, by about 14% from where we were, by six cents. And my only concern, of course, is that I might die before the gap is closed, because at the rate we are going, who knows? And we need to increase the pace. We need to close that gap.

And I think we are going to do it with the broad based support of members and supporters from across the country. This is how California faired just on Title V funding over the last several years, getting about 34% of all the Title V money over the years stated up there. I guess it is 1999 2005.

And as you can see, California gets a good share of those resources. There are other monies that we help put together with Congress that are not reflected here. But in your packets, you have a briefing document that gives you detailed information. You can read it in literature, but what you are going to find is other packets of money that are coming to HSIs, in addition to the breakdown of what institutions can be receiving what types of grants and in what amounts.

Also, I am glad to see that there is a former intern here of HACU. What year were you in our internship program?

Woman from the audience: 1999.

Antonio Flores: '99? OK. I guess I could take credit. I was already involved. And in what agency did you intern?

Woman from the audience: I was working in the Department of Labor to the Veterans Office.

Antonio Flores: Oh, great. Well, it is good to have you with us.

Woman from the audience: Thank you.

Antonio Flores: And you will find also in the list of institutions from where we have recruited interns for our program over the years. So you have more detailed information that I am sure will be of interest to you. But suffice it to say that these are the three main strengths, if you will, of the strategic work that we pursue as an association, where advocacy, ultimately, is connected very closely to the development of our colleges and universities. That is why we are so intent on getting more resources for capacity building so that your institutions can better serve the needs of your students in general, but more importantly, those who are Latino students who are historically underrepresented in higher education.

Ultimately, we want to increase access and success as students move from secondary to post secondary education. That is why we are initiating this effort with Congress to change the legislation and The Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

And we work very closely with allies that we have in the business community, as well as in federal agencies, because we couldn't do all the work that needs to be done by ourselves. So we really have been able to leverage those alliances and those partnerships that we have both with government, as well as with the private sector.

And for our members, of course, we try to list the central benefits that they earn from being part of our association. HACU still remains based in San Antonio, Texas. We have our main office there. But of course, we have had an office in Washington since 1992 that does the day to day work with Congress and with the federal agencies. And from there, we also run our national internship program.

The Sacramento Office with Erica Romero, our Executive Director, was opened more than three years ago, basically, because we recognized three things. One, that all California is a critical state and the western part of the country is a vital part of the future of HACU in the nation. We needed to also have that presence there at the regional level. Secondly, we are very mindful of the fact that as much as the federal government is critical in investing new resources for the strengthening of our institutions, it is really at the state level where we can eventually make a major difference, as well.

We believe that the time will come when the state of California and other states across the country will recognize Hispanic Serving Institutions legislation and provide Title funding for them as well. That is why we have this office in California.

The institutional capacity building, we mentioned that. We have a number of initiatives related to this, including a program that includes faculty and staff annually, where it is a fellowship program and year long program where they actually go through a curriculum that allows them to learn how to tap new resources for their institutions and for their own teaching or research work. Interestingly enough, that group of fellows over the years, about 200 of them that have come through the program, have been able to generate more than $60 million for their institutions in new money as a result of what they learned.

And ultimately, we continue to provide advisories and information to all of you about grant opportunities, about issues that we have before Congress that need input from you as well as support, and action alerts that relate to all of that.

But HACU also provides a scholarship to some of your students, however small the amounts. But I know they actually this week have provided more than $400,000, and the monies is growing because more corporations want to support that the particular part of our work.

In terms of our corporate supporters, these are some of the benefits they get and we try to not only recognize them, but give them access to the talent pool that our Latino students across the country represent for their own workforce diversity efforts. This is one of the main things they want. They want to get the best and brightest from our young people across the country and we are a means for them to do that.

So, they support our annual conferences and our capital forum, other things that we do. In their regard, they get to also interact with the many leaders from across the country. Just to have a sense, how many were at our conference earlier this month? I guess, just to get a sense of that. Let's say you all got to, those of you who were there, got to get a taste, if you will, of what our corporate supporters do there and why they go.

This year, we were in Orlando. By next year, we'll be right here in your neighborhood, San Diego. So we hope that you all who were not able to go this year will join us next. We actually had a drop from California. It's understandable. It's across the country and with the budget cuts, we expected that.

Fortunately, our crowd really didn't go down in numbers in general. Others came from other places closer to Orlando. But those are some of the things that they get. Again, I mentioned that our national internship program, this year alone, we had 690 interns placed throughout the country.

You were in Washington when you did your internship?

Woman from the audience: Yes.

Antonio Flores: But I would say about 60% remain in the Washington area, about 40% are employed throughout the country. Some even go abroad. If we place them with a partner state, they might end up going to an embassy in another country for the 10 weeks or 15 weeks of the internship. Not only do they learn a great deal from that experience and earn a stipend, etc., but also, they actually dissipate some of the myths or misconceptions that their supervisors might have had about Latino professional capacity. So as a result of that, many agencies have recognized that our internship program is one of the most valuable tools they have to recruit top notch talent and corporations are recognizing that too.

Actually, now we have more than 9,000 alumni who have come through this program. But it started with 24 interns back in '92. Now, we are at 690 a year. My sense of this program is that it is such a tremendous way of Latinos in specific institutions to showcase the professional talent that they represent, again, to help those agencies, corporations improve their labor force, that we need to strengthen this program and expand it to many more because, annually, we actually get about 6,500 top notch applicants.

All of them meet the qualifications, but we only place about 10%. So the rest were very saddened that we can't provide a spot for them. So we're trying to expand the number of slots as we move on.

In addition, of course, these particular interns become tremendous ambassadors for your institutions. We found that in 2007, we did a study, a 15 year study from the beginning of the program in that point. To our surprise, this program that by then had already processed nearly 8,000 alumnae, had placed them in across the government in internships and we found out that of those almost 8, 000 alumni, 38% were fully employed by the federal government.

So, after they graduated, stayed with the federal government. And we know that. The federal agencies, they know that. But when we completed the study, we were pleasantly surprised. Therefore, our agencies now recognize, even more so, the tremendous value of the program.

In the private sector, we have corporations like Deloitte, for example, they're looking for accountants, people with engineering degrees, IT skills, etc. They began to work with our internship program a couple of years ago. Last year, they had 18 interns. Of the 18, they kept 15 as full time Deloitte employees and they actually increasing the numbers.

So that's a major source of pride for us and, of course, of support for the students. We have so much strategic alliances, businesses like those, the Lanzate program provides round trip tickets on Southwest Airlines, for students to go and visit universities where they might decide to stay, for their parents to go out to their graduation. So it has become a very important program for many families across the country.

We also have one with the Gap. It's a design project where students who are in the fields like that have a competition and, actually, at the conference they presented their projects. They get a $5,000 scholarship if they win one of those slots. So, those are projects that help broaden institutions.

At he conference we unveiled College Admissions 411 is a new effort in partnership with HITN Television is a cable channel. And they producing with some of our institutions, I believe 25 segments. They already have eight done and they have begun to air them. They're going to have it mostly available online as well on DVD. So they are geared to parents very much and how they can help their children succeed in school and get ready for college, etc.

So we have a number of strategic partnerships with a variety of corporations. These are just some of the examples of that. Internationally, of course, it's critical that our young people have a chance to study abroad as much as possible. What we have found is that Latinos nationwide are very much under represented in the ranks of those students from the US who want to study abroad.

Every year, we send out to other countries from the US, approximately 160 something thousand. Out of those, probably no more than 2 percent, 3 percent are Latinos. So, they are not really going to study abroad in any significant percentage.

Most of the ones who go study abroad from the US tend to be white female students and most of them also tend to go to Western Europe, especially England. So I keep telling my friends who tell me about those numbers, I say, "Look, someone going from Iowa to England probably won't get as an enriching experience as would be the case than they would to go to L.A., or New York, or Miami, or places like that."

But that's the way it is. So we have to change that. We have to change both where they go and increase definitely the number of Latinos going to study abroad. We don't want our Latinos only to go Latin America. We want them to go to China, to go Africa, to go to India, to go to all those places with emerging economies around the world.

But in fact, of the 630 something thousands that we receive every year in the entire education in the US, only about 2 percent, for example, come from Mexico. About 8 percent, 9 percent come from all of Latin America and I believe we need to change that.

And our intent is that in partnership with our member institutions from those countries and our exercise and other member institutions in the US, we'll be able to do it both ways, Latinos going out and Latinos coming in to stay here and your institutions becoming more engaged in study abroad opportunities.

It's interesting, we had at our conference the Under Secretary for the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Shah, at one of the sessions, I think it was the forum on health issues, health disparities. He did a great job. And then, two days later, he was announced that he was being nominated by President Obama to be the head of US-AID.

So, we're very pleased that number one, we have a relationship with him. We weren't happy to see him leave USDA, because it's such an important program, the one we have under USDA for exercise. But now, we're happy that we have a friend taking over US-AID.

We do an international conference every two years, and I know that Dr. Gordon and others have joined us in some of those international conferences. Two years ago, it was in Spain. It was in Universidad de Alcala in the outskirts Madrid. Is the birthplace of Cervantes and has all these universities that were created 500 or 600 years ago. This year we get it in Guadalajara, Mexico. Two years from now, in February of 2011, it will be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, our international conference.

But anyway, that's how we're headed under the direction of international programs. Going back to Hispanic serving school districts, we now have actually, we have 25. There are two more that, I guess this is growing every week; one or two more have added. But with 25 districts from nine different states, four of them in California, but as far as this number as grown dramatically over the years because the universe, at this point, is 2,100.

And so, I also want to share with you the good news that HACU is in the process of acquiring land in San Antonio right next the Missions National Park, right next to actually Mission San Jose that you can see on the back. Mission San Jose is the main mission in the park. There are four other missions. But that one is the anchor mission. The land is literally adjacent to that mission area. So we are hoping that in the next month or two, we'll be able to wrap up that position of the land and move on with a capital campaign to build our facility there.

This is the preliminary depiction of the building, which is attempting to keep or resemble the architecture of the missions. And they're building more than just our offices. We intend to have the National Innovation Center of Hispanic Education which is conceptualized as an online system to gather the best practices that our institutions are demonstrating across the land, inventory them, categorize them and make them available online so that people all over can learn what works best, and how to make it work and where they can find technical support to get some of those exemplary practices adopted to their own needs and their own institutions.

This is going to be a critical new piece that we're going to have for our members across the country and beyond. And of course, by then, we will also have the Hispanic serving school districts component as part of that. In fact, there will probably be a lot of those best practices that will be K 16+ kind of approach to best practices.

And so the next one is Latino college planning and testing initially which is the one I am striving for that is already in the works. We think it's very important that we properly evaluate all of those things and we begin to accumulate evidence of the effectiveness of those interventions. And then make it part of our basis to present to Congress, move the recommendations on how to improve legislation. And so that's going to be a very important part of what we do there.

Financial Literacy Institute. We all know that literacy is an issue that cuts across most of our society, whereby many families are not really on top of financial literacy matters. And when it comes to our Latino students particularly, we have a number of issues. One of them is what we have identified is a financial literacy issue is that Latinos tend to borrow a lot less money as they go through college. It's not bad. They don't borrow as much.

The problem is that as a result of that, two things happen. One, that lengthens the group of years that it takes them to complete a degree program. And secondly, it undermines their attention to study. It diminishes the quality of their academic work.

So, it's critical that we help our families understand all of these so that, yes, they'll be borrowing more in the future. But it's not about accumulating debt. It's about investing and investing wisely so that they finish those degrees faster and are able to earn more money faster as well and the quality of their academic work will not suffer as much as it does now as a result of them working too many hours as they go to college.

But we want to concentrate on that and, of course, we want to help their Hispanic Higher Education Call of Champions where we're going to honor those individuals, those organization sessions that are excelling in support of the mission of our association and our community.

In essence, that's what we wanted to share with you. And then, more importantly, what we want to do is open it up for a dialogue. We want to hear from you what are some of the things that you believe HACU needs to either do differently, or do more of, or new initiatives that we should consider as we move forward with our policy in program education.

So, now is the time for you to tell us what is that in your mind. If you have a question or a comment, that will also be more than welcome.

Audience Member: Hi. I'm curious to know HACU's role in supporting the undocumented students.

Antonio Flores: I didn't hear that agenda, right? I'll tell you, almost invariably, everywhere we go, that comes up. Let me say this that HACU is probably, without appearing to be self serving, I hope, that the most committed advocate on the issue of DREAM. We have pushed very hard, very intensely in Congress and with the White House on that question, not just recently, but for many years. I think the problem is, from my point of view, as follows. You might remember even in the previous administration when the issue came up and in 2007 and was defeated in Congress. At that time, our economy was at its peak, actually. And yet, it didn't happen. It was a different Congress. But it still, it didn't pass.

And what happened is that we're talking about the whole enchilada, it is all or nothing. Comprehensive immigration reform. Basically there are four elements of that. One is border security; they have never been in question. The President just approved last week the Homeland Security budget with $800 million to continue border security work, including the infamous wall. That has never changed, either with the Republicans or with the Democrats. That is that.

The second piece of that is guest workers. We have never had a problem with that either. Because they always issue the number of visas that the business community needs and bring people from wherever for their own needs at all levels, from engineers in IT enterprises to farm work.

The third piece is the DREAM Act, which has bipartisan support. There are two bills right now in Congress that are dormant; they are not being pushed through the committees. One was introduced the same day, according to both of them, March 26th of this year. Senator Durbin of Illinois introduced one. Congressman Howard Berman, of California, like myself, introduced one in the House.

They are companion bills and yet they are just in a coma there. And they have postponed it ifrom both sides of the aisle. Why? Because they would rather wait, don't push them, because there is going to be again comprehensive immigration reform.

The word is out that this is going to happen sometime in late February or early March, when they will introduce comprehensive immigration reform. Accordingly we have a new President who is very forceful and he supports DREAM. And hopefully with his backing of that bill in a new Congress, it will happen, hopefully.

Unfortunately the economy is much different from what it was in 2007 and it is an election year next year. I don't know how many members of Congress are going to buy into it, from either the Democratic side or the Republican one. But in a worst case scenario ultimately they may not succeed. But we hope that they at least give us Plan B, the passage of the DREAM Act. And that they will give the green light to those deals that are already in place if they see that the whole enchilada is going nowhere. So why give up the whole court, you just go fro what you can.

In my view, if we had done that eight years ago when we first started talking about this, it would have passed. Every month we are talking about 75,000 to 100,000 high school graduates that fall into that category by some of the estimates that we see. You are talking about almost a million since then, who, if they had been able to regularize their immigration status, they have families so they might get regularized for the members of their families, and then we would not be talking about 12 million now, but maybe half of them, and make it even more palatable.

That really is the sticky point, that 12 million pound gorilla, as we would call it, undocumented that are estimated in the nation. That is what they don't want to deal with.

All those three components, including the DREAM Act, of course, we are behind. We will keep on pushing for them. I had a meeting with some students before this one, early this morning, that became very clear on that point. I was really surprised at the level of passion that some feel on at least one thing. And yet their reality is that HACU can only do so much.

Because they were asking me that, for instance, why is it that we don't encourage employers that come to our conference as exhibitors to open their opportunity and offer it to undocumented students? I was telling them most of the ones that come to our exhibit area are federal agencies and corporations. We have some universities as well.

If you are not a US citizen, even if you are a legal resident of this country and you have been here whatever number of years and you are a permanent resident, but if you are not a US citizen you cannot even be hired to sweep the floor at a post office. Why? Because for every job in the federal government that is a prerequisite.

They give some exceptions. For instance, if you are Cuban, you can be hired. If you are Israeli, you can be hired. If you are Irish you can be hired. That is a law that was passed when Tip O'Neill was the Speaker of the House. And of course when the Cold War was at its peak and Cuba and things were in play. They haven't changed that.

But that is the reality. So how can we expect, even when in many cases we have among our interns, we have had students who are bright, incredibly intelligent and excellent at what they do who are not US citizens yet, but are permanent residents, who go through the internship experience and cannot be hired. The agencies would like to hire them but they can't.

The person who brought up that issue, of course, was so intensely moved by the fact that we were not doing more of that. I had to explain to her that you all know that this year the E-Verify system came into play. So you are a contractor with the federal government at $50,000 or more per year, you are required to vet every single employee through the E-Verify system. And we are a contractor employer with the federal government.

And of course most of the exhibitors that are not federal agencies are contracted with the federal government. Whether it is Deloitte, or Rockwell or whomever, they all have contracts with the federal government, so they have to adhere to that too.

In conclusion I said the only thing that is really is practical for us to really do is to modify the law. And then we're talking about opportunities for them, otherwise no chance. I guess that was a pretty long answer to a simple question, but I wanted to share with you what we know.

Milton A. Gordon: Let me comment on that question. If you are really interested in that, you can come to the Capitol Forum. Because we go as a group to talk to the congressional delegation. And over the years, we have been doing that for a number of years, they say the DREAM Act only will impact students. But look at the numbers that Antonio was just giving and they say we want to see immigration reform. Well, I have to tell you I think the first step in that reform should be the DREAM Act. If you are interested in actually pursuing this question come to the Capitol Forum. Join us as we go across the street to the congressional delegation.

Antonio Flores: Thank you for that important point. Yes.

Audience Member: Antonio, I am speaking as a trustee, so I have a couple concerns. I have this feeling that HACU, either through HACU or through HSI there used to be greater accountability to where those monies are distributed. And what I mean by that is a lot of the monies are given to the different campuses and there are not Latino faculty or managers associated with those monies. And so there is not that bilingual bi-cultural sensitivity there, and I think that needs to be there. And also within at least the community college system that I see here in California, there are these fragmented organization that create leadership within community colleges, even within Cal State systems.

But they're all internally based and then people hit ceilings, for political kinds of reasons or whatever. But it would be nice to see, because if you don't get a lot of board trustees throughout the state, some of those areas that are highly Latino populated, their board of trustees are predominantly Caucasian. They're not Latino and they're making those decisions for our children.

So I think there needs to be some kind of collaborative effort to organize or inform that community of how they can get elected or appointed officials that will represent those children that are served there.

School districts are getting much more better about that. But it has not hit the community college level. And so that would be mine. And I know there's many different groups that deal with developing CEOs and vice presidents, but they're usually done out of Harvard or they're done out of those other organizations. There needs to be more development of the middle managers and managers among the existing Latinos in the CSU system, the UC system and the Cal State system.

It doesn't seem like there's enough accountability in there. Everybody just hits you don't go past D, that D level. Or you don't go past a certain the V, whatever that is. And so, I think there needs to be accountability. There's monies coming to them for being those institutions, then how are you showing that accountability?

Antonio Flores: Right. No, I think your two points are well taken. Well, the first one, other than accountability just in general with respect to how the monies that are coming to institutions from Title V or from other sources as HSIs, it's important that there be constructive accountability in the sense of understanding in a much better way how those new resources are impacting on the student outcomes, for example. And I think there is room for that. Having been, really, the new kid on the block when it comes to federal legislation, HSIs, really they are the newest group of institutions to be recognized. I think we've been on that developmental phase up to now. At some point, I think that there may be opportunity to work with our leaders from across the country and proactively set a framework for that issue that you mentioned of accountability. And I would view it more as self accountability for them to understand, OK, what is it that we are doing with the resources that we're bringing to the table and how are they increasing Latino success?

The second one really has to do more with internal policies of systems and institutions as far as hiring and promoting professionals. It seems to me that's an issue that is more suitable for state level legislation and policy than federal, because as much as the federal government is a critical part of the policy process and is more a role model let's put it in those terms for the state, at the end of the day, the bulk of the money for education as a whole comes from the states.

Just to give you an example, for K-12, annually the federal government provides over 67% of all the money. So, the bulk of the resources are local both state and tax revenue generated by property taxes, the local districts and especially community colleges. And of course, to a lesser degree, but again, mainly state funds for the CSU conferences and so forth.

So this is what we may be able to develop some strategy to work with the state legislature in terms of how they can promote, not in a punitive way, but rather incentivize some institutions to do more along the lines of the professional grants of those institutions both on the academic side as well as on the administrative end reflecting the population they serve, the communities they serve.

And I think there's something that we might be able to do there. We're going to need some help. My intent is that as soon as resources allow us to do it, we need to have an advisory group to our Sacramento office working continuously with our Sacramento office on those issues that are more amenable to state legislative action.

And so, this is why Erica is taking down copious notes of all of this as we speak. I'm sorry, there was a question way in the back. Yes?

Audience Member: I work at a high school that a lot of students are eligible for the Cal State system, but don't apply because they don't know how to fill out the application. And part of my requirement for high school graduation is that they have to apply to a college whether it's community, a Cal State agency. So I have certain colleges come in and help students apply to the different systems. But because of the cutbacks that we've had this year, a lot of the colleges aren't able to come in and provide that additional help. I think that it would be really beneficial because students don't have anyone to show them how to apply to the systems. And so they start the application and they get to questions that they don't know the answer to or they get confused and they just leave it and they don't finish.

And so, the requirement for the students at my school is that they have to apply to a college. And I encourage it. But because of the cutbacks, it's been very difficult this year me trying to help every single student apply to a college, especially those that are eligible for the Cal State. So I would really wish that I could get somebody to come in and help me finish help me with students apply to the Cal State system in general or the UCs. I think that if we had that system for a lot of the minority students, and not just the Hispanics, but any student that is eligible and do not have the support or the knowledge of how to apply, Just applying to a college would be very helpful.

Antonio Flores: I think it's a very important point the one you just made. It's one of the elements of the work group that I mentioned that is preparing this intervention that we plan to initiate next, a year from now approximately. Will they do it because we have a wealth of resources in our institutions, in our college universities, represented primarily by the faculty and staff as well as the students. I think it would multiply the effort that you get on the way if, for instance, institutions were to get some minimum amount of financial support to train and deploy groups of grad students or undergrad students under the supervision of faculty or administrators to do precisely that, but to do it with hundreds and thousands of students wherever those institutions are.

And of course, because of the budget cuts, it's where we need to bring to the table resources that may not be available from the state in the years ahead. And that's why we are so intent on amending the HR now so that those new resources can fall from there to colleges, universities and to Hispanic serving school districts can work together on matters like the one you brought up.

Audience Member: And I think also on the issue of with those students that did apply and did get accepted, a lot of them had decided to go to community college because of the finances and how within the Hispanic community, there's more of the support for the family, and how the money can't go towards the education and the student has to work. So it becomes even more difficult, so they end up going to community college, which is not a bad route. But I think that also the program should also include how to apply to scholarships because there are so many scholarships out there.

Part of the requirement at my school is also that they have to part of graduating they have to apply to three scholarships. But, it's very difficult trying to get these kids to do that and that's working with every individual student and trying to get them to apply is very hard. So just the support that I could get at the schools would be so beneficial for many of our Hispanic students.

Antonio Flores: Michael and then Marta. Michael?

Michael: I want to say that I've not heard of this issue. But the School of the Arts and Enterprise, my wife sits on your board and if you have problems, you have needs, I'm surprised they haven't been addressed. So I think you need to make a request and have it done because I know we have the resources to provide that whether it be through the Center of Community Service Learning or whether it be through outreach. We have the capabilities to provide the assistance you're looking for. So I think you just need to make sure you make your need known. Obviously, I know you have that need now.

Audience Member: Well actually, we had 38% of our students went to a four year last year and many of them went to Cal State and private. The remaining, except for two students, applied to a community college. So our rate is very high. But this year, I'm struggling because I don't have the support that I got last year. So that would be very helpful.

Antonio Flores: Very good. Is there a question back there?

Audience Member: Yeah. I don't know if it's just an answer or some help for you. What I do is I'm a college counselor at my high school, I have 2,200 kids and what I've done has been incredible. It's been so great. I use Cal State Fullerton and I use about eight to ten interns every semester and they are outstanding students. They're on the ELD Counselors. Part of their job is that each one has to take 30 of our seniors and make sure that they follow through on their application process to the CSUs or community colleges.

Cal State Fullerton does a great job of these students. I don't pay them. They come to me, only I have to write up a report for them at the end. I have to give them a grade.

And just for your knowledge, the mixed internship fair is this next Wednesday where you come here and you can recruit. So I'll be here again next Wednesday to recruit for the spring. And then, one last point on something else you said that I find all the time with the Hispanic culture, the culture of my students is this. My biggest thing in talking with all my Hispanic students is that within their culture what I've found is that it's huge in the Hispanic culture that the family is so tight knit is really nice but it is huge that you stay in your family and help your family out financially rather than go to college.

And that's something that's real hard for my kids. I can see it. They want to go to college. But their parents have said, "Oh, no. You graduated from high school. The first priority is back to us now. You've got to help here or you've got to stay home with your mother." Or the big thing, "You've got to help your younger brothers and sisters now."

So this is my first time being here. I'm learning about your organization. I would really go after that whole point within the Hispanic culture that these kids have got to be able to go on and be able to do what they want to do. Otherwise, your percentages, they're never going to go up because their culture is going to keep them down.

Antonio Flores: Thank you for your point and this is going to be probably the last question because we're running out of time. But, please.

Audience Member: I have to comment on that. I've actually found that out to be a myth about parents not wanting the kids to go to college. Just from working probably 10 years with my clients, I think a lot of times the parents don't know enough about it. Maybe in a more mobile, migrant communities that might have been the case. But now I think it's changed a lot. What I do find is that Latino students use more of their financial aide to help their families. I think that does enrich them.

My question was given the rising awareness around health disparities, does HACU have a subcommittee or any special focus on diversifying the health professions?

Antonio Flores: We don't and we really should. We have an advisory council on health science. I don't know if they are focused on the workforce aspects of health science and education. It's health science and education advisory council made up of Latinos who are in the field in different institutions across the country, academics primarily. They work with our San Antonio office. We have staff dedicated to working with them on issues related to health disparities, and in providing info to DHS on those very issues. But I'm not aware that they are working specifically on the question of workforce. It's a good point that we need to bring to their attention and if it's necessary for us to bring one exclusively on that question because it's a big issue. I think that we will.

It's one of the legislative acts that we need to tackle in the next couple years is the VHHS authorizing legislation which is really not one, but several issues of legislature. But with our limited resources we've been focused on, we've worked on the farm bill. Now, the farm bill has a lot more resources there.

We have worked with HUD. Last year, we worked with NSF, the National Science Foundation. We had no funding under that. Congress took care of it last year and NSF is working with our office now putting together the plan to carry out that so that our exercise will have access to NSF resources, hopefully beginning in fiscal year 2011. Milton?

Milton A. Gordon: That's an interesting question and at our annual meeting, Dr. Shah, who personally is now up for a different position, met with us, several of the groups of Presidents there. I know Mike was in my group. And he was talking about more grant monies for HACU institution for exactly this issue, the health related issues. I'm not sure if you knew that he was meeting with some of the groups of presidents. And this is an issue that I would say is already on the radar for the federal government. Mike, I don't know if you want to comment.

Michael: I think that's accurate. I think that the intent in our conversation was exactly how we could globalize HSIs to address this and I think that's....

Frank: There's a lot of work being done in California with public health institute and the endowment, connecting the dots. Maybe it would be great to connect that one more dot with Congress.

Antonio Flores: Are we ready for the last question or comment? I know several of you and I hate it not to allow you to do it, but we're running out of time. Please be as brief as you can.

Audience Member: Milton, just a comment in regards to I know that this is the first time I've seen Loma Linda. I think it's great. We need more private universities to be a part of that. On the health care disparity issue, I'm going to be working very hard for that because that's also an interest to me. But, the bottom line, as Dr. Gordon said, is we need to and it goes back to your question and the question over there. We need everybody to go to the Capital Forum, because it's at the Capital Forum most of the things happen.

At that point, we can discuss a lack of corporations for health disparities. You don't have anybody going to your school. Let's say, for example, there's going to be monies available if we push it for K-12. That will answer your question.

Audience Member: The thing is that we come here and we get highly motivated. But then, as Dr. Gordon said, we need to go to the Capital Forum, and that's where we can really make a statement and we'd be able to begin to address the issue of lack of appropriations and all the things that Dr. Gordon said. He can't do it by himself. But we can do it. So I intend to work with you. You guys have a lot of you just got $10 million dollar health disparity set up. What's happening with that? You need to share that with the others.

Antonio Flores: On that happy note, I think I'm going to conclude. You've been a wonderful audience.

Related Link:

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